Does anyone else remember the pure magic of watching The Little Mermaid as a kid? If you were anything like me, you spent considerable time pretending to be Ariel – I’m talking hours of bath-time splish splash, chatting to imaginary crustaceans, and summers spent in neighbourhood pools, diving through hoola hoops to retrieve make-believe ‘dinglehoppers’ from the “ocean” floor. Well friends, this past weekend, I got to live my childhood dreams!
AquaMermaid is the make-your-dream-come-true swimming school for aspiring mermaids, with locations is Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Phoenix and Chicago. I had the pleasure of trying out an introductory class with my sister (and all-time bff) at the University Settlement community pool in Toronto. Here’s what you can expect to experience in a fitness class made for mermaids:
Calling all Mermaids! (and Mer-men too)
I’ll be honest — My postpartum baby weight had me feeling nervous about joining a fitness class that involved baring my midriff. However, I immediately felt at ease when I showed up to the pool to join a class of women (and men!) of all shapes and sizes. Everyone was there to have fun first and, in my opinion, get fit second. This took ALL the pressure off. My sis and I couldn’t wait to dive into class!
Get Paired with the Perfect Tail
The AquaMermaid tails are made out of a bathing suit fabric, so I opted for a size Large that was comfortable around my hips yet still felt snug. If you have a preferred colour — your options are pink, blue, and green — let them know and they’ll do their best to accommodate! Hiding inside the tail fins are specially designed Mermaid flippers which keep your feet together. Pro Mermaid Tip: Pull the ankle straps on your flippers as tightly as possible so your feet stay secured throughout class.
Take the Plunge
Before getting started, we put our tails aside and jumped in the pool for a quick warm-up human-style. Swimming a few laps without a tail was a good way to acclimate (especially for those who, like myself, don’t consider themselves a ‘strong’ swimmer). Next the class returned pool-side to wriggle into our tails… And I gotta say, this part was HILARIOUS! It’s hard enough getting a wet bathing suit pulled over your torso when you have two feet firmly planted on the ground! There we were, a group of adults on our backs, squeezing into fantasy accessories, that rivalled our skinniest jeans. All we could do was laugh as we flip-flopped our way into the pool!
Having your legs joined underwater feels a little strange at first, but we quickly got the hang of it. Our AquaMermaid instructor ran us through swimming techniques, such as sculling (such a crazy arm workout!) and diving for rings. Some exercises required us to buddy-up, so I definitely recommend inviting a friend to join you for this underwater journey! After some group games, we asked the instructor for a free-swim, which was my favourite part; A little make-believe before the spell wore off! Pro Mermaid Tip: Make sure you wear goggles during class so you can open your eyes underwater and enjoy the sight of everyone’s tails!
Not only was being a Mermaid a ton of fun, it was also a really great workout. My arms and shoulders were so tired afterwards! Having a tail also meant we challenged our abdominal muscles in new ways. So whether you’re looking for a unique way to get fit, or you’re planning an aquatic themed bachelorette party, I highly recommend you grab your gal pals for an underwater rendezvous! Pro Mermaid Tip: Don’t forget your camera for group shots after class; Bonus points if you have one designed to go underwater!
You can find out more about introductory classes and memberships on the AquaMermaid website. And for those of you who want to bring the fantasy home, you’re in luck; AquaMermaid sells mermaid tails! Guess what I’m toting to the beach this summer ;)